Well York's Ebor meeting last week delivered some exciting racing and it's fair share of upsets, still it proved to be an enjoyable experience for us with a decent strike rate of 33% and a profit of almost 7 points.
We'll be back tomorrow evening with the weekend selections...
The Cleeve team
Distant Past ran a decent race but drawn in one he didn't have any early pace to follow and he probably saw too much daylight as well. He almost joined the leaders at the furlong pole but his run flattened out and he faded.
Bogart was another beaten by his draw (the first four home were all drawn in single figures) and as it was apparent at halfway that he would not be involved in the finish he was allowed to come home in his own time so may be dropped a pound or to. He still remains of some interest under the right conditions...
Storm The Stars showed terrific toughness to win this. He was quite keen from the off and I feared he might pay the price, especially as the race was run at a terrific pace. Bondi Beach was very well backed into favourite and if he had challenged on the rail I think he would have won, Tasher acquitted himself with great credit in this big step up and is one to keep on the right side. The first two are joint 3/1 favourites for the St Leger which is less than 3 weeks away, so it will be interesting to see how they recover...
On first watch Time Test was very disappointing and never threatening to really get involved, connections said immediately after that they may drop back in trip, but the truth was he was closest at the finish. Arabian Queen was a shock winner from Golden Horn who was too keen, but in truth it was a funny race and I am not sure how solidly the form will work out.
Besharah ws heavily backed from the overnight 9/2 advised into 11/4 and showed she is thriving on her racing when destroying the field in the Group Two Lowther Stakes. Pat Cosgrave rode an absolute peach on her keeping her well covered up when she threatened to be too free early on, and when a gap opened between Lumiere and Easton Angel just inside the two pole she bravely dived for it and quickened clear like very smart filly.
Musaddas who was visored for the first time is starting to look a bit tricky. He slightly missed the break again and was then far to keen pulling hard for the first half of the race. Having spent far to much energy he stayed on without quickening but hung both left and right under pressure.
Extremity looked to be travelling quite well in rear and coming round the home turn I thought we might just get a run for our money. But when Frankie started nudging he found zero and was allowed to come home hands and heels... I have the feeling that he thought something maybe amiss with the horse.
I've just watched Covert Love again, and coming inside the last two she still looks sure to win (1.31 in running on Betfair). Pat Smullen rode as good a race as he could keeping them packed in behind of a steady pace before winding it up in the home straight. Mind you it took a classic winner in Pleascach to get past her, and she lost nothing in defeat (apart from our stakes!). She will win again...
Top Tug ran very credibly only giving best in the last two hundred yards to be beaten 2 lengths into third. It was pretty steady early on and he was a bit free. No excuses though and maybe a stronger pace would help, he looks sure to win a decent race before the end of the season.
Hit The Jackpot ran an honest race and was in contention until the weight and maybe his busy season told. He stayed on pretty well to the line but this was maybe a bit competitive for him.
Vent De Force was very disappointing for the second race in a row and I to be perfectly honest I can't see any good reason why. Even though he has showed the required level of form in the past, for some reason he now doesn't look up to this class... I'll be avoiding him from now on.
Sadly Stepper Point went wrong and was pulled up. We could possibly claim a Pyrrhic victory as he had beaten Mecca's Angel last time out at The Curragh... but they don't pay out on those so we won't!
Mondialiste was a very game winner of the Strensall stakes and proved trainer David O'Meara who said he was his best chance of the week correct. Again the field found it hard to peg the prominent runners back, but under strong pressure he got his head in front with just 50 yards to go. Mutakkayef ran a smasher in second after a long lay off, and looks to be the one to take out of the race.
Ajaya looked very smart in the Gimcrack and continued Willy Haggas's fantastic meeting. He travelled strongly in a good position and really quickened when asked. The second Ribchester who came here with just the one run looked a bit green and moved around when he first came under strong pressure, but ran on well and can win a decent maiden.
Quick Jack never really threatened to get involved, and Wadi Al Hattawi who got very sweaty beforehand was pulled up after just two furlongs so something was clearly amiss. Litigant the shocker winner was some training performance by Joe Tuite after being off the course for 491 days.
So in summary...